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European Markets Finish Mixed As Central Banks Hold Firm

The European markets ended Thursday's session with mixed results, but were little changed overall. Traders were in a cautious mood ahead of policy statements from both the European Central Bank and the Bank of England.

The European Central Bank left its interest rates unchanged on Thursday and maintained the forward guidance on monetary stimulus for a second policy session in a row, after the Governing Council's June decision to halve the monthly asset purchases after September, and to eventually end them in December.

The Governing Council, led by Mario Draghi, "expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at their present levels at least through the summer of 2019, and in any case for as long as necessary to ensure the continued sustained convergence of inflation to levels that are below, but close to, 2 percent over the medium term," the ECB reiterated in a statement.

The bank also retained its guidance for its asset purchases.
Bank of England policymakers unanimously decided to maintain the monetary policy stance on Thursday, after resorting to a quarter-point rate hike in August.

The committee also unanimously decided to maintain the quantitative easing through asset purchases at GBP 435 billion.

Policymakers said if the economy continues to develop broadly in line with the August Inflation Report projections, an ongoing tightening of monetary policy over the forecast period would be appropriate to return inflation sustainably to the 2 percent target.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index weakened by 0.15 percent. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone blue chip stocks increased 0.21 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, lost 0.01 percent.

The DAX of Germany climbed 0.19 percent, but the CAC of France fell 0.08 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. declined 0.43 percent and the SMI of Switzerland finished lower by 0.05 percent.

Germany's consumer price inflation held steady, as initially estimated in August, final data from Destatis revealed Thursday. Consumer price inflation remained stable at 2 percent in August, in line with the estimate published on August 30. The rate reached the 2 percent mark for the fourth consecutive month.

France's consumer prices grew at a steady pace in August, final data from the statistical office Insee showed Thursday. Consumer price inflation came in at 2.3 percent, the same rate as registered in July, and in line with the preliminary estimate published on August 31.

UK house price balance dropped in August largely due to the weakness in London, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors reportedly said Thursday. The national house price balance slid to 2 percent in August from 4 percent in July.

A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed a modest increase in U.S. consumer prices in the month of August. The Labor Department said its consumer price index rose by 0.2 percent in August, matching the increase seen in July. Economists had expected prices to climb by 0.3 percent.

First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly edged slightly lower in the week ended September 8th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday. The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 204,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week's revised level of 205,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 210,000 from the 203,000 originally reported for the previous week.

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